The Buccaneers have informed running back Leonard Fournette that they will release him once the March 15 deadline hits, according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman via Pewter Report.
This move will save the Bucs around $3.5 million against the cap this season. Tampa Bay will still have about $53 million to go, since the team has a large amount of money tied up in voidable years and big contracts to veterans such as Mike Evans, Carlton Davis, and others.
While the move isn’t a surprise following Tom Brady’s retirement announcement, it still is tough to see a solid player go. “Playoff Lenny” had some wonderful performances in a Bucs uniform, especially during their 2020 Super Bowl run where he earned that nickname.
Now, the Bucs turn to third-round pick from last year’s draft Rachaad White, as he will more than likely assume the starting role coming out of the backfield.
The Bucs could also very well take another back in an upcoming draft class that is rich with talented runners, even in the later rounds. Look for Tampa Bay to use a late-round choice on a back to not only fill a roster spot but be a complement to Rachaad White’s running style (with limited salary cap capabilities Tampa Bay won’t be able to do much in the free agency world).
But Wait, There’s More
As for next moves for the Bucs, left tackle Donovan Smith is on the chopping block with his large contract not matching his less-than-stellar play.
We shall see what other financial footwork the Bucs try to pull off as they continue their quest to be cap compliant for the 2023-2024 season.
Some dark days could lie ahead for the Bucs in the form of some difficult decisions.
Whether it’s through trade or outright release, this could be a very different roster in not even a month, as the Bucs have until the new year begins on March 16 to get their salary cap problems under control.
It’s truly a Bucs life again. This should be pretty fun.
This article originally appeared on CLTAMPA.COM and is used with permission.
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